Preparing for Thanksgiving!

Enjoy thanksgiving this year- without the extra lbs...

Holidays are just around the corner! The most wonderful, joyful, festive, and food-coma filled time of the year! As much as we look forward to this time of year, it is not without the anticipation of how many lbs. we’ll be packing on. If you’re like the millions of Americans, we typically over eat, under exercise and gain weight- which sets us up perfectly for our new year’s “need to get in shape!” resolution. I’ve seen many people go through this time of year with motivation to ‘be good’ through these couple of months just to experience the same outcome year after year. Now, it is possible to get through the holidays, maintain your weight and health and still enjoy each celebration. How? We’ll take it step by step this year starting with Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a little over a week away. Let’s face it, with the endless buffets of food starting early in the morning to late at night it’s hard to simply “eat until your satisfied and then stop.” I hear ya!! Trust me! By the time my Aunt’s apple pie AND pumpkin pie comes around after dinner I’m certainly not still hungry... but do I still have a piece?? OF COURSE, I DO- because it’s delicious and only comes around once a year (thanks aunt Mary Jo J). So, this year let’s take a more realistic approach to navigating these food filled holidays. I’m going to share with you my secret that I use with all my clients (and myself).

The trick to indulging (still within reason) on thanksgiving without affecting your waist line is starting to prepare the week before. Cleaning up your diet the week leading up to Thanksgiving will allow you to enjoy and even over indulge a bit (within reason). Being healthy and managing your weight is all a balance of what we eat and how we exercise, with a heavier emphasis on the diet. If your plan is to eat whatever you want then exercise the day after to “burn off Thanksgiving Day dinner,” I hate to break it to you but you won’t be happy with the results. Our weight is largely dependent on our diet- not only calories but also where those calories come from. This is especially true for women- sorry ladies (more on this in a future post).

Now, for those that can control themselves and eat within their limits on thanksgiving no problem (yes, these people do exist)- hats off to ya! Don’t change a thing. (also reach out to me because I would love your thoughts). But for those that want to indulge a bit and likely creep over their calorie limits read on!

Start controlling what you’re eating a week prior- This doesn’t have to be anything dramatic but pull back on portion sizes (this I can’t stress enough), skip the dessert, say no to mindless snacking during the day and avoid going out to eat or picking up food on the go. My general rule of thumb for healthy meals made at home- protein source + fruits or vegetable. Pulling back even 100-200 calories a day for a week can make a big difference.

Hydrate! Drinking water can support this cause on all fronts. Staying hydrated can regulate energy levels, metabolism, hunger levels and craving. The more the better. Aim for at least 64 oz. water a day and more if you’re working out!

Limit alcohol- this is a big one! I know it’ll be hard to stick with seltzer come Sunday Football or sip on a vodka club with cran (hold the vodka) at happy hour with your friends. But it’s only 1 week and I promise you it’ll be okay. In 5 years, you won’t be looking back saying “Man! I should have had that drink on that November day, that’s where it all went wrong.” It won’t even affect you the next day once the moment has passed. Don’t believe me? Try it- challenge yourself and tell me how you feel the next day. Do you feel like you missed out on that drink? Or do you feel good that you passed on the alcohol and woke up feeling ready to take on the day because you challenged yourself to do something healthy.

Do something active every day- and please incorporate some weights into your routine (I’m talking to you ladies!). I know I said our weight is largely dependent on our diet, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore about working out. Exercise is still important. To achieve healthy weight management, you need both- healthy diet AND consistent exercise routine. Aim for at least 3 intense workouts (cardio and strength training) before now and thanksgiving. On the off days aim to stay active even a 10-15-minute circuit before jumping in the shower (squats, lunges, pushups, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, planks and sit ups). If you need some guidance on the circuit, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Happy to get you in the right direction.

Weigh yourself every day- This one always freaks people out, but bear with me here. I’ve read through all the research and I use this in my own practice with hundreds of clients. Weighing yourself every day is one of the most important things you can do. What I DON’T want you to do is turn it into judgement day. Every time you step on the scale, it is NOT a moral reflection of “good” or “bad.” It is simply a tool to let us know how our body responds to changes. It forces us to be honest with ourselves- and for that reason, no matter what the number on the scale says, you should be proud of yourself every time you step on the scale. You are taking a step to take control of your health and your weight. Don’t worry about the day to day fluctuations- those are bound to happen because weight is not a steady measurement. Focus on the healthy changes you are making and the weight will take care of itself.

That said- DON’T weigh yourself the day after thanksgiving. I know I just said weigh yourself every day as a tool to see how your body makes changes. But for 90% of us I can tell you right now the scale is going to be higher the day after thanksgiving- it shouldn’t come as a complete shock, and this is okay. You don’t need to reinforce it by seeing the number. Get back into routine and weigh back in a couple days later. Also, the “weight” that you’ll gain after thanksgiving isn’t even necessarily true weight- some of it might be but likely you’ll see a fluctuation from sodium and water retention from eating foods out of your normal diet routine.

We have a little over a week to prepare for this food filled holiday- so get to it!

Stay tuned for my next blog post that will dive into tips for the day of thanksgiving. I’ve worked with many clients over the years and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.

All my tips are general tips that typically work for most but, I’m a true believer that everyone needs personalized advice and guidance. If you’re looking to get on track this holiday season or could benefit from a little accountability, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m taking on a handful of clients privately (and working virtually- so you can be anywhere). If interested, I’m happy to set up a quick call to chat.

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